Western medicine is beginning to acknowledge and accept traditional Chinese methods including the use of herbs and acupuncture in the treatment of medical conditions. Scientific studies have shown Chinese herbs to be effective in the treatment of eczema in both children and adults. Dr. Julia Wisniewski of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and her colleagues studied children who had eczema. The children were treated at the Ming Qi Natural Health Center in Manhattan between August 2006 and May 2008. Dr. Julia Wisniewski found the use of Chinese herbs to be a safe alternative to Western medicine in the treatment of eczema in children.
Teas made from Chinese herbs are also commonly used to treat eczema. The combination of herbs varies and depends upon the severity of the eczema and the suspected cause of the eczema. Some of these herbs used for herbal teas include fang feng, tian men dong, gan cao, shi gao, yi yi ren, ku shen, sheng di huang, zhi mu and mu dan pi. The Chinese herbs chuan xiong and huang qin can also treat scalp eczema. Long dan cao may be added to herbal teas to treat ear and facial eczema. Drinking Erka Shizheng herbal tea twice a day helps treat severe eczema in children.
Chinese herbal teas are not always agreeable to Western tastes. Chinese formularies now come in capsule form. Rather than boiling the herbs into a tea, herbs are dried and placed into capsules. Capsules are easier to give to children and to persons unable or unwilling to drink herbal teas due to a disagreeable flavour or odour. Capsules may also be broken open and sprinkled on food or poured into drinks.
According to a study by researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, preliminary studies have shown five raw Chinese herbs to be effective in treating eczema. The study appeared in the British Journal of Dermatology. The five herbs found include flos lonicerae, Japanese honeysuckle; cortex moutan, or root bark of peony tree; herba menthae, or peppermint; cortex phellodendri, or amur cork-tree bark; and atractylodes rhizome.
Applying a cold compress decoction of several Chinese herbs makes an effective treatment for mild to moderate cases of eczema. Cold compresses are placed directly onto the affected areas. The Chinese herbal cold compresses relieve itching and swelling associated with eczema. Chinese herbs prepared and used as a cold compress include ku shen, bai xian pi, cang zhu, gan cao and huang bai.
Herbal Topical Preparations
Lotions, creams and ointments made of Chinese herbal formulas have been used to treat or eliminate eczema. By applying these topical treatments directly onto the affected areas, swelling and itching decreases.
Consult with a Professional
As with all alternative and herbal medical treatments, patients should consult with a medical professional or with a licensed herbalist or traditional Chinese medical practitioner before starting a regime. Some herbs may be effective in treating eczema but, in the wrong dosage, may cause other ailments or have undesired side effects. Even if the dosage is correct, using the wrong herb may not benefit the patient, and in fact, may be dangerous.